International Fire Management Conferences jointly conducted with EMERCOM of Russia and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

International Conference
“Forest Fires: Management and International Cooperation for Preventing Forest Fires in the APEC Region”

4-6 October 2010, Khabarovsk, Russian Federation

The International Conference “Forest Fires: Management and International Cooperation in Preventing Forest Fires in APEC Region” was convened at the initiative of the Russian Federation and aimed to strengthen cooperation between the emergency services of the APEC member economies in order to express readiness of the region to reduce the risks of disasters.

53 representatives from 8 APEC member economies and key experts from the world took part in this event.

The subject of forest fire prevention under the APEC activities has been raised and considered for the first time. Primarily, this is due to the fact that in the context of the ongoing process of climate change, forest fires have become a growing problem globally and particularly in the APEC region and require mobilization of the international community to devise measures to prevent them.

Objectives of the Conference

  • Providing an opportunity for the emergency services of APEC member economies to share their experience in forest fires risk management both in research and practical activities;
  • Enhancing regional cooperation and verify the general similarities and differences in order to avoid duplication of efforts;
  • Developing a mechanism of cooperation and coordination between the emergency services of the APEC economies in forest fires management at local and regional levels.

Conference Agenda and Outcomes

The APEC Conference Group

Demonstration of aerial fire suppression (BE-200)

Memorial and minute of silence for Leonid Grigorievich Kondrashov, former leader of the Regional North East Asia Wildland Fire Network, who passed away on 29 April 2010). A medal of recognition was handed over by the Russian Federal Forest Agency Rosleskhoz to his widow Marina Shevchenko, accompanied by GFMC Director Johann Georg Goldammer.

International Conference
“Hot Summer 2010: Lessons learned”

22-23 March 2011, Moscow, Russian Federation

Recent years we are witnessing the growth of frequency and intensity of natural and human-made disasters. To great extent these catastrophes are caused by climate change, urbanization, dynamic development of energy producing industry and the deterioration of fixed assets of infrastructure and industry. This can be demonstrated on the examples of the hurricane Katrina in the USA, earthquake in Haiti, flood in Pakistan, forest fires in Russia and Israel. The most important nowadays is to exchange best practices on emergencies management and look for the ways of improvement of international response mechanisms. In this context EMERCOM of Russia in cooperation with the World Bank and the Ministry of Interior of Germany invited the leadership and senior experts of agencies on emergency management and other related organizations for participation at the conference. The main goals of the conference were to

  • Evaluate operations carried out in response to wild fires and other correlating disasters
  • Share information on the most effective methods of fighting wild fires and other natural disasters as well as on equipment and technologies applied;
  • Exchange views on the improvement of the mechanism of international disaster relief assistance to be rendered during large-scale catastrophes.

The GFMC contribution “Status and Prospects of International Cooperation in Fire Management in the Regions of the Council of Europe, the UN Economic Commission of Europe and at Global Level through the Development of Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements and Protocol” were presented on behalf of the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement of the Council of Europe (EUR-OPA), the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire and UNISDR Global Wildland Fire Network (GWFN).

The conference group (upper) and the German delegation (lower)

Study Course
“Wildfire Management in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Region”
7-11 November 2011, Moscow, Russian Federation

In following-up the APEC conference , held in Khabarovsk in 2010 (cf. above) the Study course was held at the Academy of State Firefighting Service, EMERCOM of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Trainees from all APEC Member States, including students of the Academy attended the training course.

International conference
“Protection of Human Settlements and Social Infrastructure from Wildfires”
15-16 November 2017, Moscow, Russian Federation.

Recent wildfires in Europe and globally have resulted in severe environmental damages in natural and cultural landscapes, high economic losses and considerable humanitarian problems. Globally more than 280 human lives have been lost by wildfires in 2017, more than 20,000 homes destroyed or damaged, and 380,000 needed to be evacuated. Several key issues affecting wildland fire in the natural, cultural and industrial-urban landscapes of temperate-boreal Eurasia have been identified:

  • Increasing rural exodus and urbanization, resulting in abandonment of traditional land cultivation (agriculture, pastoralism, forestry) resulting in an increasing wildfire hazard;
  • Urbanization resulting in a reduced rural work force, including availability of rural firefighters;
  • Re-privatization of formerly nationalized forests resulting in the absence of forest and fire management in small holder forest estates;
  • Increasing occurrence of wildfires affecting the perimeters of metropolitan and industrial areas, settlements and developments dispersed throughout the landscapes;
  • Climate change affecting on natural and anthropogenic regimes and the vulnerability of ecosystems to wildfires, e.g., climate-driven transformation of former fire-free or fire-protected natural ecosystems and land-use systems such as peat bogs and high-altitude mountain ecosystems to ecosystems becoming vulnerable to and increasingly affected by wildfires;
  • Increase of severity and duration of droughts in all continents resulting in increasing occurrence of extremely severe and difficult to control wildfires that often exceed local, national and even international cooperative capacities in managing such extreme fire emergencies.

In the light of these apparent and the anticipated future changes of wildland fire regimes, a two-day international conference was organized by EMERCOM of Russia and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), supported by the Secretariat of the European Major Hazards Agreement of the Council of Europe (EUR-OPA), the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and experts from the host country Russia, Italy, Argentina, Belarus, and Mongolia, to identify solution for sustainable management of landscapes and fires herein. The participants of the Conference agreed on highlighting a set of principles that may contribute to wildfire disaster risk reduction.

The core group of the EMERCOM-UNISDR conference

Close-up of conferences hosts and representatives of regional organizations at the EMERCOM-UNISDR conference. From left to right: Johann G. Goldammer (Director, GFMC), Oleg Bazhenov (State Secretary and Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations), Gianluca Silvestrini (Executive Secretary, EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement), Angelo Borrelli (Head, Civil Protection Department, Italy), Abhilash Panda (UNISDR Europe Office Secretariat), Victor Klimkin (Deputy Chair, All-Russian Voluntary Fire Society) and Vitaly Akberdin (Chief, National Aerial Fire Center of Russia Avialesookhrana).

GFMC presentation on progress of application of holistic and integrated landscape fire management approaches in Eastern Europe.

Side meeting with the leadership Federal Forest Agency of the Russian Federation Rosleskhoz and the Aerial Forest Fire Center Avialesookhrana. From left to right: Vitaly Akberdin, Mikhail Kozlov, Nikolay Krovosheev, Vitaly Akberdin, Johann G. Goldammer and Andrey M. Eritsov. Photos: EMERCOM of Russia

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